7 Ways You Can Keep Your Pets Healthy and Safe this Winter

By guest blogger, Ryan Goodchild of A Pupper’s Love

Photo by ModCatShop on Unsplash

Now that the cold weather has arrived, you need to make sure your pet has the essentials to stay healthy and happy all season long. Not sure where to start? Then check out these top health and safety tips for taking care of your furkids.

Find Allergy Relief for Your Pets

Itchy pets may be suffering from allergies. Pet allergies are pretty common for cats and dogs, and can be the result of dust, pollen or even certain foods. All of the scratching can lead to hair loss and infections, so schedule a checkup for your pets if you suspect environmental or food allergies. You can also try switching your kitty to an allergen-free food to see if that helps with symptoms.

Address Your Pet’s Behavior Issues

Winter weather can mean more indoor gatherings with family and friends. If you plan on bringing your pets along you should make sure they have at least some basic manners. This can also be helpful if you want to sip your favorite fall lattes on local dog-friendly patios. If you need help with training your dog, consider reaching out to a local, qualified trainer for a consultation.

Be Aware of Signs of Pain in Your Pet

Colder weather can make your pet extra achy. Arthritis is another common health concern that tends to come in during colder seasons, and aches and pains can be particularly common for senior pets. Lifestyle changes can reduce pain and inflammation for your pet, including keeping your pet active and investing in quality beds.

Pain from inflammation, nausea and vomiting from cats with sensitive stomachs is another thing to look out for. In this case, switch your kitty over to food that is specially produced for such ailments. Ingredients in sensitive stomach cat food — such as prebiotics, highly digestible ingredients, and fatty acids like fish oil — are geared towards soothing cats’ digestive systems.

Make Sure Your Pets are Microchipped

It’s always a good idea to microchip your pet. If your pet gets away from you during a hike, a walk, or a holiday vacation, having a microchip will increase the chances of being reunited with you. This is a relatively simple and inexpensive procedure that can be priceless when it comes to protecting your furry family members.

Protect Your Pet’s Paws and Nose

You know how your lips and hands can get dry and chapped during the winter? Well, the same thing can happen to your pet’s paws and nose. If you notice dry skin or cracks on their skin, consider mixing up a protective balm. You can also add a layer of balm to help safeguard your dog’s paws against salt and other chemicals used to prevent ice on sidewalks.

Protect Your Pet From Holiday Hazards

Finally, before you enjoy any holiday celebrations with your pets, you should be aware of some of the most common holiday pet hazards. Human food may be the first thing that comes to mind, and keeping fatty meats, herbs and other risky treats away from your pets can be crucial for keeping them healthy. But holiday decor, including poinsettias, mistletoe and tinsel, can also present poisoning and choking hazards.

Ensuring a safe and healthy season for your pets is all about preparation and planning. So even if the temperatures are still hot and sticky in your area, start making appointments and stocking up on supplies as soon as possible. Then you can rest assured that your pets are healthy enough to enjoy all the fall fun ahead.

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Thank you, Ryan, for all the great info. For inspiring stories about man’s best friend, check out Ryan’s website, A Pupper’s Love.

National Love Your Pet Day

girl and dog
Image by pisauikan from Pixabay

Today is Love Your Pet Day. What an awesome holiday!

dachshund sistersBlack catsOver the years, our pets have included a golden retriever/chow mix, two long-haired dachshund sisters, an iguana and numerous cats. All of our pets have been rescues (except the iguana). Right now we have two black cats who are regularly part of my social media posts and who even take over my blog once a week.

I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I’ve been without at least one cat or dog. Granted, they can be a lot of work, but when they look at you with love in their eyes, it makes it all worthwhile.

Besides all the love and joy pets bring into our lives, there are also health benefits:

cats
Suki relaxing with her buddy Itsy after a tiring game of fetch
sailing
Morgan enjoying an outing on the sailboat

More exercise

Especially if the pet is a dog. Walking, running, playing frisbee or fetch keep both you and your pet in shape. We never could get our long-haired dachshunds to play fetch, but our Siamese cat Suki had a little rubber mouse she would bring to us to throw. She’d tear off after it then bring it back and drop it at our feet. This would keep up until we finally wore her out. Or maybe she wore us out.

Image by Uschi Dugulin from Pixabay

Stress relief and help with depression

What is more soothing than listening to a cat purr or having a dog lying next to you with its head in your lap? Studies have found that being around pets actually reduces cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Pets can make us smile when we’re feeling down, too. The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes animal-assisted therapy as a treatment for depression and other mood disorders.

Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay

Lower blood pressure, less risk of stroke and lower risk of heart attacks

A study of hospitalized heart patients found that dogs decreased their blood pressure by about 10%. Other researchers suggest owning a cat cuts a person’s risk of having a stroke by one-third. And yet another study found that people with cats were 40% less likely to have a fatal heart attack. Scientists aren’t sure whether it’s the pets’ calming effects that make the difference or whether people who choose pets are at less risk of heart attack and more stress-free naturally. Either way, it sounds like a really good excuse to adopt a dog or cat!

Image by Westfale from Pixabay

Allergy prevention

Image by Sarah Richter from Pixabay

Worried about allergies? Having pets in your home when your children are young can decrease their risk of developing allergies later. A seven-year study of almost 500 children found that those who were exposed to pets as babies, were half as likely to develop allergies and asthma.

For 13 of the most heartwarming pet stories of the past decade, check out this post. Warning: It’ll make you cry!

In honor of this great holiday, how about giving Fido or Fluffy an extra treat? They deserve it.